Review: The Great Alone

34912895Title: The Great Alone
Author: Kristin Hannah
435 pages, published February 6, 2018

Note: I received this book fromNetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

It's hard to believe this is my first Kristin Hannah read! The Alaskan setting is definitely what intrigued me about this book, and I was not disappointed!  This book was beautifully written--the author did a fantastic job describing what Alaska looked like and felt like. I felt the gloom and stress of the upcoming winter, the brightness of the endless summer days, and the depression of the cold and dark winter. I adored Leni as a character. I became so attached to her throughout the book. I also loved Cora (Mama) and the wonderful people of Kaneq--especially the Walkers and Large Marge (a delightful character!).

This was such an emotional read--you will feel a wide range of emotions: happiness, sadness, love, rage, frustration. It is at times hard an uncomfortable to read but completely worth continuing to read. The book deals with issues of post-Vietnam America and PTSD, among other serious issues. It will put you through an emotional roller coaster, but you can't put it down. I read the last half of the 400+ page book in less than 24 hours because I was so invested in Leni and Cora their life in Alaska. I can't stop thinking about this book and know it will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend this book!

What other books by Kristin Hannah do you recommend? I want more! Comment below!



  1. Glad to see you enjoyed this one and finally read KH!! I've loved her books for years - almost every one of them is worth reading. Firefly Lane, The Nightingale (my favorite), Night Road, Winter Garden, and True Colors are all fantastic. I also enjoyed Home Front. You really can't go wrong with any of them, but I definitely recommend The Nightingale as a MUST read.

    1. Literally everyone has said The Nightingale! So that ones is definitely on my list!


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